We’ve all heard the analogies: the Lone Ranger had Tonto, a coal taken out of the fire dies, no man is an island. These are surely overused. But they are also true, for “it is not good for the human to be alone” (Gen 2:18).
Spiritual growth is not exception. In his article, “A Model of Character Formation” (June 6, 2000) Klaus Issler says,
As in all of sanctification, we need the Spirit’s power, and we need others to assist us, to help identify problematic areas, to brainstorm what positive strategy might be best, and to encourage us as we are in training to make progress toward Christlikeness. The church is the main corporate context for spiritual growth” (p. 5).
What does this mean for our practice of church in the world?
- Open ourselves to the caring access of the faith community and seek out a variety of perspectives. It is a certainty that we have blind spots.
- Dialogue honestly and deeply with believers of differing perspectives, seeking diligently to hear the mind of Christ as to how we should proceed.
- Discover with others the disciplines taht are meaningful and effective, and that require mutual involvement.
- Develop a godly, sojourner worldview, respecting the surrounding culture, while recognizing that it is not our culture: we are in the heavenlies (Eph var).